I think the man has become mentally unbalanced. Can anyone explain what this kook is trying to say here?
Ho Chi Minh looms as Bush touts Vietnam lessons
POSTED: 12:09 p.m. EST, November 17, 2006
Adjust font size:
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- President Bush, on his first visit to a country where America lost a two-decade-long fight against communism, said Friday the Vietnam War's lesson for today's Iraq conflict is that freedom takes time to trump hatred.
Embracing a former enemy that remains communist but is allowing capitalism to surge, Bush opened a four-day stay here that was fueling an already raging debate over his war policy.
Democrats who won control of Congress say last week's elections validate their call for U.S. troops to start coming home soon, while Bush argues -- as he did again Friday -- for patience with a mission he says can't be ended until Iraq can remain stable on its own.
A baby boomer who came of age during the turbulent Vietnam era and spent the war in the United States as a member of the Texas Air National Guard, Bush said he was amazed by the sights of the one-time war capital.
He said he was hopeful that the United States and Vietnam have reconciled differences after a war that ended 31 years ago when the Washington-backed regime in Saigon fell.
"My first reaction is history has a long march to it, and societies change and relationships can constantly be altered to the good," Bush said after speeding past signs of both poverty and the commerce produced by Asia's fastest-growing economy.
The president said there was much to be learned from the Vietnam War -- the longest conflict in U.S. history -- as his administration contemplates new strategies for the war in Iraq, now in its fourth year. But his critics see parallels with Vietnam -- a determined insurgency and a death toll that has drained public support -- that spell danger for dragging out U.S. involvement in Iraq. (Watch how the Iraq war compares to Vietnam -- 3:17 )
"It's just going to take a long period of time for the ideology that is hopeful -- and that is an ideology of freedom -- to overcome an ideology of hate," Bush said after having lunch with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, one of America's strongest allies in Iraq.
"We'll succeed," Bush added, "unless we quit."
In a day of meetings with Vietnamese leaders, the Vietnam-Iraq comparisons gave way to a focus on areas of cooperation. Those include continuing military-to-military links, work on AIDS and bird flu, trade, and cooperation on information about more than 1,300 U.S. military personnel still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
He met in succession with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet at the bright orange presidential palace, with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung next door, and with the country's most powerful leader, Communist Party chief Nong Duc Manh, at the ruling party headquarters. Each time, he and his hosts sat under a large bronze bust of Ho Chi Minh, the victorious North's revolutionary communist leader.
Nong said the president had "opened a new page in the relationship."
"For decades, you had been torn apart by war," Bush said later at a state banquet. "And today, the Vietnamese people are at peace and seeing the benefits of reform."
Clinton better received
The president's welcome by the public was much less enthusiastic than the rock-star treatment afforded President Bill Clinton when he came in 2000. Happy crowds thronged Clinton, who normalized relations with Vietnam.
But Bush encountered a country where many with long memories deeply disapprove of the U.S. invasion of Iraq -- even as they yearn for continued economic progress to stamp out still-rampant poverty.
Huynh Tuyet, 71, a North Vietnamese veteran who had his hand blown off fighting the Americans, recalled his own lesson.
"Even though the Americans were more powerful with all their massive weapons, the main factor in war is the people," he said. "The Vietnamese people were very determined. We would not give up. That's why we won."
Vietnamese officials expressed disappointment that Bush arrived without congressional approval of a new pact normalizing trade relations with Vietnam.
Congress failed to pass the bill this week as expected, leaving U.S. officials trying to explain to the Vietnamese that it would be sure to go through next month.
The visit was a delicate balancing act for Bush. Inside the sprawling Communist Party headquarters, the president gently pressed his hosts on the need for greater political and religious freedoms.
After remaining in Hanoi for a summit of 21 Pacific Rim leaders, Bush was to travel Monday to Ho Chi Minh City, the country's economic heart. (Bush's itinerary)
On the sidelines of the summit, Bush was to meet one-on-one with Russia's Vladimir Putin, China's Hu Jintao, Japan's Shinzo Abe and South Korea's Roh Moo-hyun.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address